News: ALOC, 'the heart and soul' of the machine
Story by Spc. Reese Von Rogatsz
GHAZI AVIATION BASE, PAKISTAN – The staff of Task Force Denali’s Administrative and Logistics Cell is no less on the front lines of the humanitarian assistance mission than the crews of the helicopters rising daily to the skies to bring aid and flood relief to the people in the valleys of Pakistan’s north.
“ALOC is the heart and soul behind the men and women who drive the machine,” said 1st Lt. Jason Brewer, S-1 OIC, 1-52 General Support Aviation Battalion, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade.
“ALOC is S-1 and S-4 working together. A separate entity from the Tactical Operations Center, it is accountable for all soldiers and property,” said Staff Sgt. John Paul, S-4 NCOIC, 1-52 GSAB, 16th CAB.
According to the U.S. Army Field Manual, the coordinating staff is composed of the commander’s principal assistants who are responsible for one or a combination of broad fields of interest.
S-1, typically referred to as personnel, is an essential administrative liaison between the headquarters and the subordinate units. Its areas of responsibility include pay management, records updates, awards and performance evaluations.
S-4, known as logistics, is responsible for managing logistical support and providing all manner of supplies and services such as fuel, food, water, maintenance, materials, engineering, and transportation in order for a unit to be effective.
“The key to all of it is communication and building relationships,” said Brewer.
“The Army’s about building relationships,” he expanded. “The world is about building relationships. It helps get things done.”
“Everyone’s always asking me for something,” said Spc. John Andrew Martinez, S-1 clerk, 1-52 GSAB, 16th CAB. “I’m the go-to guy for all their basic needs such as pay issues and awards.”
Basic needs affect morale. Through hectic mornings when one needs to stay flexible and responsive, through days which have their ups and downs turning into unpredictable evenings, in a job which has a heavy customer service component, ALOC does its part.
“From the S-1 perspective, the commander, [Lt. Col. John Knightstep], has taken a hands-on approach to the shop,” Brewer said. “He has done an outstanding job with making sure that soldiers are taken care of.”
“So far this deployment has been great for me,” said Pfc. Daquana Brown, human resource specialist, 1-52 GSAB, 16th CAB. “We have good food, telephones, computers/internet, ability to send mail.”
“The locals are very friendly,” she continued. “They’ll start conversations with you, show you pictures of their families, tell you about their kids. They’re really interested in us.”
“It’s nice that we’re helping, it’s the right thing to do,” said Martinez in reference to TF Denali’s mission. “I’m proud to be making a contribution.”
And, “I love being supply,” said Paul, who has been in the field for 18 years.
“I like my job, enjoy helping people. When they see me they know I’m bringing them stuff that they want - or at least trying to.”
Recently, he has taken up a collection from soldiers in order to procure more weight benches and related equipment.
“You see it yourself, everybody’s working out every second of the day,” Paul said. “We have just the one bench I brought personally and two sets of weights.”
There will always be lessons learned in any endeavor, but when asked about accomplishments, Paul replied: “I brought the bench!”